Finas to fine-tune operating licence for drive-in cinemas


People watch the film 'Joker' from their cars at a drive-in cinema in London, Britain. Photo: Reuters

The National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) will study and fine-tune the Film Exhibition Licence for drive-in cinemas to operate in line with the new normal following the Covid-19 outbreak, said its chief executive officer Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri.

He said it should be done to protect movie content from being pirated.

"Drive-in cinemas are under the exhibition sector and it has become a trend due to the new normal. The safety of the content should be prioritised,” he told Bernama.

Ahmad Idham said for that to happen, Finas might have to make several improvements to the licence to cater to this type of movie screening. However, he said, Finas had yet to decide on the matter.

On July 9, the government agreed to allow drive-in cinemas to operate, subject to the standard operating procedure (SOP), including requiring cinema-goers to remain in their vehicles, and purchase food and beverages online and collect them via drive-thru.

In this regard, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) together with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) will issue the SOP for the activity.

According to Ahmad Idham, there are two scenarios for the drive-in cinemas to operate; it will be a platform to screen the latest movies in parallel with existing cinemas, and also be a venue for movie-goers to watch old films as well as a medium to promote themed movies to the people.

At the same time, he said drive-in cinemas are an interesting concept that provides for a more relaxed and safe entertainment platform for the whole family.

"However, it can be a bit challenging because we are an equatorial climate country, warm and humid all year long, and this can make it difficult to choose suitable locations, ” he said.

Meanwhile, a drive-in cinema operator, Johnson Lourdes from Johnson Media Resources, said the company was prepared to screen local and international movies starting August, operating on weekends.

"We have identified several locations. We target to bring in 250 vehicles per entry for each screening,” Lourdes told Bernama without providing details on the venues.

Lourdes is also positive that drive-in cinemas will be able to provide a unique cinematic experience for the public while complying with the SOP.

"We are confident that it will receive a good response from the audience. Now it’s a trend in the world whereby people prefer outdoor cinemas with drive-in viewing facilities," he said.

Optimistic with this latest development, Malaysian Film Producers Association (PFM) president Panchacharam Nalliah, also known as Pansha, agreed that drive-in cinemas are relevant with the current situation, as it offers a variety of options to viewers.

"It is a new and different opportunity in terms of movie-watching and normally new things will make us more excited. We hope for its success and continue to support the country’s film industry, ” he said.

Renowned comedian and self-proclaimed movie-buff, Harith Iskander, is of the opinion that drive-in cinemas would bring new and exciting experience.

"This is good progress and a new platform in the cinema business. Most importantly, viewers want to feel and enjoy the experience. It is priceless, ” he said. – Bernama

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